Basin Electric employee reflects on Democratic National Convention experience

Kathi Risch, senior staff writer and editor at Basin Electric Headquarters in Bismarck, ND, attended the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, in early September as an alternate delegate.

Kathi Risch at 2012 Democratic National Convention

Kathi Risch (left) and her daughter Emily (right) get a photo taken with Nancy Pelosi (center).

In her own words, Risch reflects on the experience:

“It was a great privilege to attend the 2012 Democratic National Convention. For most people, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have never attended before.

“While there wasn’t a lot of mystery as to what would occur at the convention, the highlight for me was former Pres. Bill Clinton’s speech nominating Barack Obama for president. The delivery and speech were masterful. It was reported to be 49 minutes, but it seemed no more than 15 minutes (and this was very late at night Eastern Time). I think it will go down in history as one of the best ever.

“It was also fun to watch the production crew that kept the convention clipping along. It was seamless. If you didn’t watch gavel-to-gavel coverage, speeches that I think are worth checking out include: Tammy Duckworth, Kal Penn, Lilly Ledbetter, Deval Patrick, Julian Castro, Sister Simone Campbell, Sandra Fluke, Elizabeth Warren and Jennifer Granholm. They are all posted on C-SPAN.

“I attended many socials and events that provided the opportunity to meet congressional delegates, national news anchors and reporters, political pundits, entertainers and other noteworthy people.

Some of the highlights include:
• My daughter Emily and I got our photo taken with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at a reception honoring her for her 25th year in Congress. Tony Bennett sang about five songs, including ‘I left my heart in San Francisco.’ I can’t believe how good he was. I discussed this later with jazz drummer Harold Jones, who is touring with Bennett, who agreed. When I started the conversation, I didn’t know who I was talking to. Jones has played, toured and recorded with Count Basie, among many others.

• I attended an American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) luncheon/reception at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Until this article, I was a closet NASCAR fan. I got a ride in a stock car and Dale Earnhardt Jr. signed clean coal hats and answered audience questions.

• I was never a big fan of Marc Anthony, but his rendition of the National Anthem was magical on the final night of the convention.

James Taylor, Toni Braxton and the Foo Fighters also performed that night. I enjoyed them all.

• Jeff Bridges sang at Carolina Fest, the day before the convention. After a few songs, it started pouring rain and we were lucky to get under an overhang.

I introduced myself to Anderson Cooper at the CNN Grill and he agreed to a photograph.

• Sen. Al Franken delivered an entertaining monologue at a Senate Campaign Committee breakfast.

Caroline Kennedy was a table away at a Congressional Campaign Committee luncheon.

Dakota Gasification Company Director Heidi Heitkamp’s race for the Senate was mentioned prominently by Sens. Patty Murray, Al Franken. Amy Klobuchar and Dick Durban.

Other general impressions:
• Sen. Barbara Mikulski is a feisty and fun speaker.

• Sen. Amy Klobuchar is very impressive.

“It was a challenge getting around Charlotte because of the required security, but I commend the city for how well we able to get around. Our hotel was quite far from the city center, so we always dressed for the day. We were on the move from 8:30 a.m. until after midnight every day. For convention events in the city, we drove our car to a light rail stop, and took the train in.”

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